Flower arranging and harpist performance mark Garden Terrace pre-Mother’s Day celebration

Residents enjoy first Mother’s Day event with full programming in two years

The residents of Garden Terrace were treated to pre-Mother’s Day activities and entertainment on May 6 to mark the first time the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home has celebrated the occasion with larger programming since the pandemic began in 2020.

In the morning, the life enrichment team helped residents with a craft for Mother’s Day. Residents were provided small watering cans that they were able to fill with flower arrangements to keep as Mother’s Day gifts or to give to a loved one or friend.

“The residents really liked it – there were lots of smiles on their faces,” life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King tells The OMNIway. “It was really nice for them.”

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the past two Mother’s Days have been quiet occasions. But since restrictions have eased, residents were able to do more programming this year.

The positive impact this is having is evident in the photos taken during the floral arrangement activity, where “everyone looks happy,” Rachael notes.

In the afternoon, residents were treated to a performance from a harpist which was enjoyed by all.

Residents were also given Mother’s Day cards and a flower, courtesy of Garden Terrace team members. Residents were also treated to a special meal when Mother’s Day arrived May 8.

Rachael says the Mother’s Day programming meant a lot to the residents.

“It has been different these past two Mother’s Days, but it’s nice to be able to celebrate (the mothers) because they deserve it,” she says.

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Volunteer reflects on the positive outcome of her first meeting with Garden Terrace residents

Makeup artist Roxane Vezina hosted a spa day to help residents look and feel their best

Roxane Vezina has a talent for making people look and feel their best, and it’s a gift she wanted to bring to others.

So, in March, the professional makeup artist completed her first volunteer shift at Garden Terrace, where she helped residents choose and apply makeup to help them feel like they were getting ready for a night out on the town.

Roxane explains how she became a volunteer at the Ottawa-area long-term care home.

“I was looking for volunteering opportunities, but especially doing makeup and helping people feel better about themselves,” she tells The OMNIway.

“I found there were no opportunities in Ottawa to do that. So I contacted (Garden Terrace) and asked about providing services to them in a volunteering capacity.”

On her first volunteering day in March, shortly after pandemic restrictions relaxed, Roxane organized a spa day for residents. She provided a large makeup kit for residents to choose the colours and shades of makeup they wanted for their eyes, cheeks and lips.

She also provided skincare services and did residents’ nails.

Roxane says what made her most happy about her first volunteering shift was that she was able to provide residents with a service they had not had in a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was able to give (the residents) a bit of a transformation and helped make them feel more beautiful, more feminine and offered them something they perhaps haven’t had in a very long time,” she says.

Roxane also says she saw the difference her work made.

“The residents were very grateful for the opportunity, and I thought that was so sweet,” she says. “I think the best part of this process for the residents was really just to feel their best.”

After their makeup and nails were done, the residents were reflecting on their fond memories of getting dressed up to go out for the evening, and this had a positive impact on Roxane, she says.

“That made me feel great because they talked about what they were doing and what they would have done when they were all dolled up,” she says.

April 24-30 was National Volunteer Week. The week is marked by events nationwide that celebrate volunteers and all they do to enrich the lives of others. This year marks the 81st National Volunteer Week.

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Earth Day presentation generates lots of interest at Garden Terrace

Residents were keen to learn about the importance of sustainability and had many questions for presenter Sarah Vierra

Garden Terrace residents learned about the importance of sustainability as well as about the extinction of species and the impact this has on the environment during an Earth Day presentation at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home.

The April 22 presentation was delivered by life enrichment aide Sarah Vierra who also explained that while humans are the main source of environmental damage, humans are also working towards solutions to increase sustainability and prevent further environmental harm.

“We looked at videos that talked about how in the past certain species were very prominent, that all the rainforests were still there, but deforestation happened and pushed them out,” explains Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

“As a result, today’s world has changed, and that was interesting for the residents to learn about.”

Recognized every April 22 since 1970, Earth Day is honoured worldwide to raise awareness of environmental issues and support environmental protection.

Some of the residents come from a generation where there was far less concern over the state of the global environment, but the presentation Sarah created sparked lots of interest, Rachael says.

“A lot of them were curious about different animals and where they originated,” she says. “One resident was asking about different types of frogs and what their colours mean, so they were pretty interested in everything.”

Rachael is commending Sarah for organizing the engaging presentation that piqued lots of interest from residents.

“It was well received by the residents; Sarah did a very good job,” she says.

Given the success of the Earth Day presentation and other learning programs residents have had, Rachael says the Garden Terrace life enrichment team will continue delivering educational sessions to residents throughout the year.

“We are going to do more educational programs like this to help inform residents about things going on in the world and things going on in the community,” she says.

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Bunny visit, egg hunt and lots of reminiscing highlight Garden Terrace Easter

‘We tried to plan as many events as we could’

Garden Terrace residents recently had a ball – an Easter ball, that is, when the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home hosted a social event April 14 that included some traditional Easter activities and lots of reminiscing.

Rachael King, the Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator, says many of the ladies and gents got dressed up for the event, which, she says, “was more like a social.”

Team members, she notes, decorated the home’s activity area and provided name tags for everyone as well as handed out tea and potato chips.

Then there was an appearance from the main attraction of the day, the Easter bunny. Life enrichment aide Dakota Lynch dressed up for the part and did the rounds handing out Easter eggs filled with a variety of chocolates and candy.

Rachael says one of the best parts of the event was seeing the residents share their favourite Easter stories.

“The residents really liked it (because) they got to reminisce about their Easter traditions,” she tells The OMNIway.

For instance, residents who are from Canada shared stories about how they had Easter-egg hunts as children, while residents who grew up outside of Canada shared memories of the traditions of their home countries.

Over the Easter weekend, there was another Easter bunny visit and a program called “thankful hour”, where residents talked about the things they’re thankful for.

And, of course, no Easter celebration would be complete without an Easter egg hunt.

“We tried to plan as many events as we could,” Rachael says.

While pandemic precautions were still in effect at the event, Rachael says there was also a shared feeling of optimism about life returning to normal.

“Everyone was sitting around and relaxing and talking about the good old days and about what’s coming up in life,” she says. “And that was very nice.”

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Playful puppies pop by Garden Terrace

A visit from four puppies and their mother proves to be both fun and therapeutic for residents

A visit from a mother dog and her puppies proved to be both fun and therapeutic for Garden Terrace residents.

On April 3, Dawn O’Leary, a nurse at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, brought her Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever and her four puppies to visit residents.

Life enrichment team members took the pups to have visits with residents on each floor. There was also a playpen set up for the puppies.

During their visits, residents played with the puppies and they got to hold them. Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King notes that one of the residents’ favourite activities with the puppies was watching them jostle in the playpen.

“They loved watching the puppies wrestle,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents also reminisced. They talked about what they would name the dogs, they talked about dogs they had owned in the past, and they talked about what dogs meant to them.”

Some residents have had a version of pet therapy in the past using life-like robotic dogs, but these residents told Rachael it’s not the same as a real canine.

Rachael says the pups also encouraged resident engagement.

“Some residents who usually don’t come to programs came to this one, and that was nice,” she adds.

The program went so well Garden Terrace is planning to have Dawn return soon with the pups for another visit.

“Hopefully, we will have them back in a few weeks,” she says.

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Music program helps Garden Terrace residents tap into favourite memories

‘We have seen a lot of positive recall in terms of the types of music they listen to; it takes them back’

The scene repeats itself often at Garden Terrace.

A resident will sit down with a life enrichment team member and an iPad loaded with a custom playlist of their favourite songs. The “play” icon is clicked, the music comes on and a smile crosses the resident’s face.

This is the best result that comes from the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s Music and Memory program, says Rachael King, Garden Terrace’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“They listen to music and they talk about their past and they reminisce,” she tells The OMNIway.

Music and Memory is a biweekly program at Garden Terrace. It has been an activity that helps residents recall some of their fondest memories and brings them lots of joy, Rachael says.

Life enrichment team members learn from family members about residents’ favourite songs and artists, and music is then loaded into the iPad playlists specific to each participating resident’s tastes and preferences.

When listening to their playlists, some residents might be taken back to working on the family farm. Others might recall listening to the radio while helping their parents make dinner. Some might start reminiscing about their wedding day.

“We have seen a lot of positive recall in terms of the types of music they listen to; it takes them back,” Rachael says.

“We look up music specific to their past and load those songs into iPads. We learn how (music) influenced them and their occupations and their daily lives.”

And every time the program is held, team members learn something new about residents.

“We had a good little chat the other day about what (the music they enjoy) represents to them and what it means to them,” Rachael says.

March was Music Therapy Awareness Month in Canada.

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Garden Terrace residents get makeovers during spa day

Getting dolled up not only made residents feel good, it brought back fond memories

A recent spa day at Garden Terrace that helped residents get made up and manicured also brought back fond memories of getting ready to go out and hit the town.

A volunteer named Roxane recently reached out to Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King to offer residents of the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home makeovers.

Once pandemic restrictions relaxed, Roxane was able to come to the home and host a spa day for residents that saw them get their nails done and have makeup applied. Full safety protocols were in effect for the event.

“She did lipstick, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, and they did eye pads, nail polish and hand massages,” Rachael tells The OMNIway, adding that about 15 residents were able to participate.

“The residents loved it. To get dolled up and look glamorous to go out and about is nice because some of them have been doing outings with their families, so they’re all dressed up and ready to hit the town.”

After their makeovers, residents asked to have their photos taken to show their new look.

Rachael says many of the residents have always enjoyed getting dressed up and having their makeup done, so there was a valuable reminiscing aspect to the spa day.

“It’s thinking about the good old days in a way; getting ready to get dressed up to go out and meet people and spend time with friends,” she says.

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Cheesecake all around at Garden Terrace

Residents spent March 6 making cheesecakes during a program that delivered reminiscing and tasty results

Garden Terrace residents recently spent a Sunday afternoon making cheesecakes during an activity that was both fun and produced tasty results.

March 6 was National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, but since the love of cheesecake should not be limited to just one variety, Garden Terrace residents made batches of no-bake mini raspberry cheesecakes to enjoy.

Due to pandemic restrictions in place, only 10 residents were able to participate in the program, but there was lots of cheesecake to go around.

While there have been other cooking and baking programs for Garden Terrace residents, the cheesecake-making program was the first activity in some time where residents could make from-scratch goodies.

Residents were keen to put on their kitchen aprons and hairnets and start making their cheesecakes, says life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

“With everything going on (with the pandemic), we really have not been able to do a lot of baking, and this was the first program of its kind in about two months,” she says.

Rachael adds that many residents enjoy the reminiscing that comes with baking and cooking.

While life enrichment team members helped guide residents through the process of making the cheesecakes, the residents did most of the work themselves, Rachael says.

And, of course, they were happy with the finished product.

“The residents loved it,” Rachael says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Garden Terrace resident Evelyn Proulx mixes cheesecake ingredients as life enrichment aide Dakota Lynch looks on.

Science class comes to Garden Terrace

Residents got to make a colourful ‘volcano’ in a program that drew lots of interest

Garden Terrace residents were recently treated to a program that merged fun and education.

In what was very much a throwback to high-school chemistry class, residents of the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home got to put on safety goggles and white smocks resembling lab coats to try their hand at a science experiment that was led by life enrichment aide (LEA) Sarah Vierra.

To conduct the experiment, residents mixed a combination of items including dry yeast, water, dish soap and food colouring into cups that caused a small-scale “eruption” similar to lava oozing out of a volcano.

“Residents had a lot of fun with this,” Rachael King, Garden Terrace’s life enrichment co-ordinator, tells The OMNIway.

As part of the programming routine at Garden Terrace, Rachael has tasked LEAs to create activities for residents based on their know-how and interests, so Sarah chose the mini volcano, Rachael says.

Due to pandemic restrictions in place, the program was held among small groups of socially distanced residents, but there was still a good turnout, Rachael says.

Rachael commends Sarah for coming up with a simple, yet very engaging activity that piqued residents’ interest, provided fun and was educational.

But there was one small area of disappointment for residents, Rachael jokes.

“I think the residents were really hoping for a small explosion,” she chuckles.

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Winter Olympics come to Garden Terrace

Life enrichment team creates three Olympic-style events for residents to compete

Garden Terrace residents got into the spirit of the Winter Olympics in February when the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home hosted its own version of the 2022 Beijing games.

The home’s creative life enrichment team organized a series of competitive events for residents, and there were even medals handed out to recognize participants’ achievements.

There were three Olympic-style events for residents: a luge, table curling and target toss. Each event was modified to meet residents’ needs.

For example, the luge event was an obstacle course lined with pylons and instead of an actual luge, which is a one-person sleigh, residents used their wheelchairs with staff members helping them negotiate the course.

The table curling event saw residents manoeuvre beanbags instead of curling stones towards a target that served as the “house”.

The third event was a target toss that challenged residents to throw beanbags through a hoop to get points.

Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King says many residents were tuned into the Winter Games on TV from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, so the spirit of the Olympics was in high gear at the home.

The Winter Olympic events were held just after an outbreak ended at Garden Terrace, so residents were happy to be able to attend programming again, Rachael says.

Although activities were restricted to 10 people per program, residents were still happy to be able to participate or cheer their friends on during the Olympic events.

“Residents liked it a lot; it was nice for them to be able to have these events and they were happy to be able to be involved in activities again,” Rachael says.

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